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Leaders’ irrigation tour boosts confidence

Media Release
11 February 2014

Leaders’ irrigation tour boosts confidence

One of the messages from last week’s south island irrigation fact-finding tour, coordinated by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, is that the biggest catalyst for change is confidence.

A group of Hawke’s Bay leaders, including the mayors and deputy mayors of Wairoa and Central Hawke’s Bay, and Hawke’s Bay Regional Councillors spent three days visiting irrigation schemes and communities in the South Island.

On his return, Napier City Council chief executive Wayne Jack has spoken in support of the fact-finding trip.

“I wasn’t aware of the business boost and confidence in and around Ashburton as a result of irrigation, so for me there was absolute value seeing and hearing the social and economic benefits from irrigation for that region,” says Wayne.

“It also gave us a clear picture of how much more we need to do here in Hawke’s Bay. On the one hand working with farmers and the challenges associated with land use change, alongside getting our heads around the huge opportunities that will emerge for tourism and recreation, and getting the business sector up to speed.”

“Napier has a lot to gain from the potential development of water storage in Hawke’s Bay. We will see an increase of products to Napier Port through the region’s transport nodes, increases to regional productivity, and the significant recreational benefits that accompany a dam, which need careful management to ensure the spin-offs are positive.”

“Napier aside, I think it would be hugely beneficial to Wairoa to look at something similar,” he added.
While numerous questions remain as to the details of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme, the potential wellbeing effects across social, cultural, economic and environmental concerns have been clearly presented giving local leaders a view of how irrigation-assisted change could apply to Hawke’s Bay.

ENDS

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